A fourth straight month of increased billings by AIA members signals the architectural economy may finally have turned the corner. The Architectural Billings Index (ABI) ticked up to 53.2 from last month’s 52.8 (any score above 50 indicates an increase in demand for design services). Project inquiries also rose slightly to 59.6 from 59.4. “These are the strongest business conditions we have seen since the end of 2007 before the construction market collapse,” said AIA chief economist, Kermit Baker.
Activity was greatest in the Northeast (56.3) and the Midwest (54.4). The South remained in positive territory at 51.1, while the South dipped into a slight decline at 49.6, down from the previous month’s 51.8. The AIA cautioned that the A/E/C sector’s growth could be drastically undercut if the country goes off the so-called “fiscal cliff.” Uncertainty about spending cuts and tax increases have already put numerous projects on hold.